Dustin Hoffman on Father’s Rights

Kramer vs. Kramer was far ahead of its time. In the 1979 film, Dustin Hoffman’s character, Ted, made a case for custody of his son, asking:

“What law is it that says a woman is a better parent simply by virtue of her sex? What is it that makes somebody a good parent? …it has to do with consistency; it has to with patience; it has to do with listening to them. And it has to do with love... I don’t know where it is written that a woman has a corner on that market.”

Some 34 years after Kramer vs. Kramer, we are finally seeing family courts catching up with culture. The rights of caregiver fathers are increasingly receiving the consideration they deserve. According to a 2009 article in the New York Times, about half of the fathers who seek primary physical custody in a disputed divorce are granted it. As a result, more and more fathers are asserting their parental rights.

Historically, legal precedents have overwhelmingly favored women. The tender years doctrine, which dates back to the early 19th century, assumed that the welfare of children – especially those under seven – was best served with mothers as custodial parents. In today’s households, both parents are likely to be breadwinners. And cultural shifts find more and more dads making dinners, giving baths, packing lunches and reading bedtime stories.

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. has won custody for fathers for many men, with a solid record of success in some of the region’s hardest-fought cases. Sometimes being a dad is about helping with homework – and sometimes it’s about doing your homework and giving yourself the best-possible odds of being an ongoing part of your kids’ lives.

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